The first compounds considered for stent-based delivery, such as heparin, were chosen on the basis of promising tissue culture and animal experiments, and yet they have failed to stop restenosis clinically. More recent compounds, such as paclitaxel, are of a different sort, being hydrophobic in nature, and their effects after local release seem far more profound. This dichotomy raises the question of whether drugs that have an effect when released from a stent do so because of differences in biology or differences in physicochemical properties and targeting. Because local concentrations and gradients are inextricably linked to biological effect, our results provide a potential explanation for the variable success of stent-based delivery. We conclude that mere proximity of delivery devices to tissues does not ensure adequate targeting, because physiological transport forces cause local concentrations to deviate significantly from mean concentrations.